Senscot Bulletin: 17-12-2004




Dear members and friends,


When I was wee, I went to stay in the holidays with my ‘Nonna in Glasgow’ – 19 Fleet Street, just off Shettleston Road where the family had three chip shops.  Uncle Joe at number 1200 – Aunt Theresa at 840 and Uncle Laurence at 657.  I would get my tea at one or other of their shops – fish and chips – as much Irn Bru as I wanted – and a Lees macaroon bar.  Then I would read my cowboy comics for hours.

            In the late 1940s – before television – cowboy lore made a huge impression on me.  Hopalong Cassidy, Kit Carson, Lash LaRue – sorting out the baddies.  Zinneman made High Noon when I was 12.  Gary Cooper – strong, silent, brave – became my role model.  But the 1960s spoiled all that.  Sam Pekanpah and Sergio Leone got ‘realistic’ with slow motion bloodshed. In Butch Cassidy we wanted the bandits to get away.  The moral complexity of the grown up world had spat in the soup.

            The 1973 country song ‘What ever happened to Randolph Scott?’ had the words ‘Whatever happened to him happened to the best of me.’ We crave heroes, not because they are better than us, but because they can show us how good we can be.  So during the holidays, I’m going to watch old films like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with James Stewart, where simple good triumphs over the bad guys – without anyone getting killed.  And I’ll have as much Irn Bru as I want – even a macaroon bar.  There’ll be time enough for reality during the dark winter days of January.



If your work involves community capacity building you should take a look at a new report from the Home Office: ‘Firm Foundations’ – which shows up the limitations of Scotland’s Regeneration Policy.  The Home Office regards capacity building as a Community Development process and defines the values and outcomes of CD. Then it provides a glossary of 34 commonly used terms – so that government officials are all using the same language. The nugget of the report is the decision; ‘To encourage Departments and other funders to support ‘Community Anchor Organisations’ to play a key role in facilitating local Community Development’.  This CD perspective – the realisation that communities need to be underpinned by organisations anchored locally is a huge difference between the Home Office and the Scottish Executive. Full report (PDF)



By contrast, I wonder if Communities Scotland employs any experienced Community Development Professionals –  there is sometimes an unease about the way they interface with communities.  In my opinion, for instance, the Scottish Centre for Regeneration is positioned too close to Government – more about upskilling practitioners than empowering communities. See recent piece by Director Craig McLaren:

            The Partnerships Representative Network (PRN) was recently disbanded (in disarray) and shortly Communities Scotland will appoint contractors to run the new Community Voices Network.  The model proposed is a widely participative, focus group approach  – leaving the Executive free to cherry pick what emerges.  These issues are not easy – but energy from communities will only flow through channels where some ownership is felt.  By being perceived as extensions of government, the Centre for Regeneration and Community Voices risk being ignored.



Aidan and I attended the launch of Futurebuilders at the Parliament.  Great building – great coffee and Danish pastries.  Malcolm Chisholm is one of the most able of our MSP and ‘Communities’ is lucky to have him.  He’s got some momentum going in his department.  The Futurebuilders team is building and settling.  The first traunch of applications will be up to March ’05.  Comprehensive guidelines now on their site.  Malcolm Chisholm’s speech is worth a look.



YELLOW PAGES/EXCHANGE: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice sent but please any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:


JOBS: 40 vacancies, incl. posts with: Morvern Community Development Co, Shelter Scotland, See Me, City of edinburgh Council, Woodcraft Folk, Tollcross Housing Association, Four Square (Scotland,


EVENTS: Crofting Course, evenings, Srathpeffer,Jan-March 2005, Be a Learning Champion! 1-day workshop, RAMH, Paisley, 19 Jan 2005;  Voluntary Arts Scotland, ‘mapping the future’ seminars, Uists 20 Jan, Isle of Lewis, 22 Jan 2005; UK Social Enterprise Coalition ‘Social enterprise solutions to 21st century challenges’ UK Conference for social enterprise  25th, Manchester, Jan 2005; SCVO, ‘Employment Law’ half-day training course, Paisley, 27 Jan 2005. To find out about the up coming social enterprise network meetings check out the events page.



As part of the support programme for Futurebuilders, Senscot has been commissioned by the Social Economy Team at CS to provide, on our website, a Directory of Services for Social Enterprises.  Because Local Social Economy Partnerships (LSEPs) will relate to District Council Boundaries – so does our Directory.  Access is through a map to your District Council where we have posted contacts in 3 categories.  Public Organisation, Intermediaries and Social Enterprises.  Were going live today with the framework more or less working – but some content still to be added – comments – contributions – amendments – invited from our readers. 



The School for Social Entrepreneurs at Brag in Fife is running a series of workshops from the end of January on the subject of Enterprise Development ( In addition, they are recruiting again for their highly successful SSE Programme that commences in April. Open Days are being held on 19th Jan. at Mobus in Leven and on 24th Jan. at BRAG Enterprises. Applicants must be resident in Fife to qualify. For further info, contact Tracey Muirhead –



This week’s bulletin profiles a national social enterprise in Scotland that is one of the UK’s leading studio providers to artists. Wasps Artists’ Studios has been on the go for over 25 years and has grown into the largest visual arts organisation in Scotland. Wasps currently has over 100,000 square feet of studio space spread over 16 different locations from the Scottish Borders up to Shetland. Over 600 artists benefit from a professional property service that is committed to keeping artists in Scotland. In recent years, WASPS has received commendations at both the Scottish National Business Awards and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. For further info’, see (project profiles) 



Jean Urquhart’s Ceilidh Place in Ullapool is having open house on Christmas Day.  Company, comfort, music, buffet, real fires and good crack.  Everyone is welcome – pay what you like – all donations to Spiritaid (founded by actor David Hayman to support Afghanistan refugees)



Naomi Shihab Nye says in this poem ‘It is only kindness that makes sense anymore’

            ‘Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.  You must wake up with sorrow.  You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you see the size of the cloth.  Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore, only kindness that ties your shoes and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread, only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say ‘It is I you have been looking for’, and then goes with you everywhere like a shadow or a friend’ (full poem  


That’s all for this week.   Next bulletin Friday 7 Jan 2005

Have a great time Ho! Ho! Ho!

Best wishes,



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